A Personal Reflection on Nebraska’s In-State Tuition Law

Alex GibiliscoAlex Gibilisco is a Junior at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and an intern this semester at Nebraska Appleseed.  Alex immigrated with his family to the United States from Guatemala at the age of 10. Alex submitted the following testimony to the Legislature’s Education Committee Monday, February 7 in opposition to LB 657, which would repeal Nebraska’s in-state tuition law.

Dear Education Committee,

My name is Alex Gibilisco.  I’m a student at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and I am writing to ask you not to allow the repeal of Nebraska’s in-state tuition law.  I have lived in the Nebraska for ten years, long enough to consider this state my home.

I was born in Guatemala and moved to the United States when I was ten years old.  I lived in California for a few years before moving with my family to Lincoln.  I am now a US citizen.  I know that the majority of people from Guatemala consider my citizenship in this country LUCK.  I even think about how lucky I was growing up.  Last month I accepted a friend request from one of my old childhood friends on Facebook.  She is doing OK and still lives in Guatemala.  Her two older sisters got married young and did not finish high school.  And her brother also dropped out of school because they do not feel that the economic burden of going to school is worth it, at least at the time.

I know that I was lucky to have parents that stressed the importance of getting an education.   But, I would not be able to attend the University if it was not made affordable to me by the state.  I know kids who are intelligent and driven, who will not be able to afford going to school if this bill passes.  They grew up here and have lived in this state the majority of their lives.  The decision to move here was not theirs, but they have put in the work and effort to learn English and the culture.   They are able to balance two different cultures and not allow it to get in the way of their studies.  They talk about wanting to be teachers, lawyers, medical doctors, even hair stylists.

These students/kids deserve the right to an education.  Education will not only provide more opportunities to them, but would allow them to become more productive members of our state.

From experience I believe these kids will not be the only ones to benefit, but the community will benefit by having outstanding kids that managed to further their education, while facing adversity not only from having to assimilate to a new culture but in the pursuit of higher education.  They deserve this opportunity and they will make all of us proud for it.

Thank you, for supporting Nebraska’s in-state tuition law.

Alex Gibilisco

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